THE manager of a later living community in Cheshire joined TV presenter and walking enthusiast Julia Bradbury on a walk exploring the area around Inspired’s Great Alne Park in Warwickshire.

The three-mile walk included a visit to a craft brewery for a tasting of award-winning beers and ended with a pub lunch. The walk was held as part of an initiative to encourage Inspired Village residents to enjoy an active later life.

Jessica Bennett, who manages Inspired’s Gifford Lea retirement village, in Tattenhall, travelled to Warwickshire for the event on 6th September. Inspired Village residents and staff from across the UK took part in the walk, which explored the area around Inspired’s Great Alne Park development, near Alcester.

Jessica said: “The event was a great opportunity to meet residents from other Inspired villages and of course chat to Julia!

“It was a fabulous day and really emphasised the wellness aspect of what we do. It’s so important to stay active for the body, mind and soul, no matter what your age.”

The event will support the launch of a 'Walking Guide' initiative across all seven later living developments owned and operated by IVG. This new scheme is designed to help residents stay physically, mentally and socially active throughout their later life. Staying active offers people the opportunity to find new hobbies, make new friends and explore their local area together. Physical activity can also help people to stay healthy, energetic and independent as they get older.

According to a 2013 NHS study, walking has the potential to save up to 37,000 lives in England every year, while NHS guidelines say that over-65s should be taking 150 minutes of walking or cycling each week.

Starting at Great Alne Park, residents were led by Julia Bradbury on a route through the local countryside, where she chatted to residents, as well as the Inspired Villages management team. Discussions included what the company is doing to change the face of later living and how Inspired is helping residents to enjoy an independent, active and fulfilled retirement. The walk also included a beer tasting at a local brewery.

Julia Bradbury said: “This was a fabulous day to be involved in and I’m proud to be part of such an important initiative. Walking is a great way for people to ease into exercise, explore their local area and get to know new people”.

The walk ended with a pub lunch, where residents tucked into their meals and shared stories about being part of an Inspired community and their favourite walks.

Jamie Bunce, CEO of Inspired Villages, added: “The Inspired walk was a fantastic day and we were delighted Julia could be part of it. Our local residents and those who travelled from our other villages enjoyed it immensely.

“The event was part of our drive to promote social, mental and physical activation in later life. Loneliness is a huge problem in the UK, it's predicted that between 2008 and 2033 there will be a 44% increase in the number of 65-74 year-olds living alone across the country**, and research shows that being lonely can have a negative impact on physical and mental health.

“Our residents are at the heart of everything we do, and the success of our business depends on their general health and happiness; they are our biggest advocates. These Walking Guides aim to facilitate living longer better and to encourage our residents to explore the attractive surroundings of their new homes."